Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How not to impress on your first project

Maybe its because of the recruiting stuff I am working on, but I have been thinking lately of massive rookie fails that I have incurred over my time in consulting. Two that come to mind are from the same project – my first ever client project in my first ever job out of uni.

The client was a snack foods manufacturer, a division of [Popular Soft Drink Brand 1]. I was excited to be on my first case, and on the very first day we got to go out to the distribution centre. This is the warehouse where all the stock is received and then shipped out to the various supermarkets and so on. It was a pretty cool place, especially for a recent law grad who had never seen its like before. They gave us all visibility jackets, fluorescent yellow vests that theoretically helps forklift drivers not run you over. Its pretty standard practice in DCs, along with the bit they didn’t mention – there are lanes marked on the floor, which indicate where its safe for humans not driving a forklift to walk. Not being armed with this information, I nearly got hammered by a forklift coming around the corner, with end result being a few boxes going everywhere, and the partners being embarrassed by the rookie confirming to everyone that he was, in fact, a total newbie.

To compound my embarrassment, when we went to lunch with the clients later that day, I got my customary sandwich and diet [Popular Soft Drink Brand 2]. As you may remember, the client was a division of [Popular Soft Drink Brand 1]. I got several dirty looks during lunch, and a lecture later that afternoon about respecting the client, and never, ever, using a competing product, especially in an area as keenly fought over as soft drinks.

Small stuff ups maybe, but to a new grad it seemed like I had irrevocably shot myself in the foot. Luckily my bosses were much more forgiving than that – and I have managed to keep my share of stuff ups since then low. Of course, there was always the agribusiness client but that’s a story for another time …

1 comment:

  1. hey Insider, welcome to the blogging world! Love the post - a great example of typical rookie days, where a) you have to be professional from day 1 and b) some of that does, unfortunately, simply require some street smarts you don't get told in the first onboarding days :-)

    Looking forward to your next postings!